Woodland is a pretty long hitter and a very good athlete, so let’s take a look at what he’s doing in his swing, why don’t we?
First the address position, of course – looking down the line, you’ll see the arms are angled slightly outward and not hanging vertically or angling inward – that’s a good thing, and part of why Gary hits it so long.
He’s got more “squat” in the legs than I would prefer, but he’s an athletic guy and his address bias may have something to do with that.
Difficult to get a decent hip action with a lot of squat in the legs, but Gary’s isn’t the worst I’ve seen.
The good thing is that he’s got his weight more over the feet, standing more erect, than bending out over the ball with his weight over the toes.
Gary has what you’d call a left-biased address with a vertical spine position.
His position, when you look at his head, might lead you to say he’s center-biased, but when you look at his overall stance face-on and picture an “A,” that “A” is leaning to the left, and is not leaning to his right or even vertical.
His spine angle is vertical, and you’ll remember that both the bias and spine tilt are subset principles in the UGS. He also stays centered on the back swing, and doesn’t have any spine tilt, which means Gary would have issues getting a powerful impact position if he didn’t employ the Trebuchet Drop.
He does however employ the Drop, as you can see by impact, he’s gotten the head back and to the right to get that power spine tilt at impact. The address position and back swing bias are responsible for the slightly-awkward “leaning forward” finish position. I’d swear that’s Nick Watney at the finish…
This is the problem many Stack & Tilters encounter as well – if you’re biased to the left and not shifting anything to the right, you literally have no where to go at impact and through. Gary solves that with the Trebuchet Drop (that’s why it’s an Absolute UGS principle- it will save any swing from the top if you use it).
Gary Woodland Swings Driver
Looking at the swing down-the-line, it’s impossible to take the club away inside with a left-leaning bias, so Gary has the classic high and away takeaway, which means having to re-route the club and arms (dropping them inside where they should have been) to get the right angle to the ball from the top.
What Trackman Shows About Gary’s Swing
Gary currently averages 300.4 yards driving, with an average club impact speed of 122.47 mph, with 179.32 mph ball speed, which is not the greatest Smash Factor in the world (191 ranking, which is actually abysmal). His accuracy is also not great (87th).
Spin Rate 2686 rpm, with a Launch Angle of 9.84, Average Carry 292.7 yards.
My impression is that he’d get more out of his driver with a better address setup using more MCS principles (posture and bias, spine tilt), because a guy generating 122 mph club impact speed with a better down swing (less compensation) would improve his Smash Factor and accuracy and drive it even longer and more accurately without having to increase his impact speed whatsoever.
If you’re going to hit it long, you may as well swing MCS and hit it really, really long – and Gary has that potential. With his physique, he should be hitting it as long as Bubba Watson, if not longer.
And here, my friends, is the point I’m making – Gary Woodland is a pretty good swinger and a much better golfer than I am, but he could be swinging it better than he does. And that’s my opinion…